Manufacturers have called for the creation of an independent authority to address Britain’s “most pressing” infrastructure challenges, putting an end to the political hurdles that delay the building of projects. The call by the EEF manufacturers’ association reflects growing business frustrations with the way big infrastructure projects are currently planned. Many companies have been left disheartened at the sluggish progress of schemes such as high-speed rail, toll motorways and nuclear power stations.
FT 18th Aug 2014 read more »
The following is a letter that was published in today’s “The Chronicle Journal” (Canada). There are a number of parallels to be found with the situation here in the UK. Is burying nuclear waste safe? The real question is, do we want to gamble with the lives of our future generations? The fact is straightforward, irrefutable: currently there is no high level repository for nuclear waste anywhere in the world. But not for want of trying.
Cumbria Trust 16th Aug 2014 read more »
Europe’s ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many billions of dollars. Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union’s electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc’s 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years. And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds. Closing the older nuclear plants is not an option for many EU countries, which are facing an energy capacity crunch as other types of plant are being closed or mothballed because they can’t cover their operating costs, or to meet stricter environmental regulation.
Reuters 17th Aug 2014 read more »
Nobody would dispute the danger inherent in possessing nuclear assets. But that danger becomes far more acute in a combat zone, where nuclear materials and weapons are at risk of theft, and reactors can become bombing targets. These risks ― most apparent in today’s chaos-ridden Middle East ― raise troubling questions about the security of nuclear assets in volatile countries everywhere. Two recent events demonstrate what is at stake. On July 9, the militant group now known as the Islamic State captured 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds at Mosul University in Iraq. The captured uranium was not weapons-grade; international inspectors removed all sensitive material from Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War (which is why it was absent when the United States invaded in 2003). But what international response, if any, would have been initiated if the cache had been highly enriched? On the same day, Hamas launched three powerful Iranian-designed rockets from Gaza at Israel’s Dimona reactor. Luckily, two missed the target, and Israel managed to intercept the third. But the episode represented a serious escalation of hostilities and served as an important reminder of the vulnerability of nuclear reactors in warzones.
Korea Herald 17th Aug 2014 read more »
Britain’s household energy bills are rising faster than in most countries in the developed world, according to new research carried out by the House of Commons Library. Based on figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and using energy data from the EU and members states of the International Energy Agency based in Paris, UK consumers have faced three years of energy price rises experienced by only a handful of other countries. Only Ireland, with an electricity price rise of 24.7 per cent, is above the UK’s 23.5 per cent hike. With electricity prices actually falling in Norway and Hungary, down by 16.5 and 17.7 per cent respectively, only South Korea and Germany have had rises close to the UK figure. Comparing rises in domestic gas prices between 2010 and 2013, the UK hike of 33.8 per cent is similarly among the highest recorded. The new research examining the economic burden for UK consumers puts the Energy Department’s reassurance last year that the UK’s domestic electricity bill was “fairly average” compared with that of the rest of Europe in a new light. Measured in prices per kilowatt hour, electricity costs less in the UK than in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Austria. But the new research shows that, in the past four years, UK prices have risen more sharply. Europe’s cheapest electricity is estimated to be supplied by Greece, France, Poland, Hungary and Finland. The contrast with the United States and Japan’s very low energy bills is still stark. However, in a re-run of Ed Miliband’s assault last year on energy prices – and his promise that a Labour government would freeze prices till 2017 – the shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, will this week revisit energy prices.
Independent 17th Aug 2014 read more »
Iran will not discuss its long-range missile programme as part of international talks on its nuclear programme, President Hassan Rouhani told UN nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano in Tehran yesterday. But Mr Rouhani again pledged to co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) investigation into whether its civilian nuclear programme had a military use, saying: “There is no room for using a weapon of mass destruction in Iran’s defence doctrine.”
Morning Star 18th Aug 2014 read more »
Iran has given a firm commitment to cooperate with a U.N. nuclear watchdog investigation into suspected atomic bomb research, the head of the agency said after what he described as a “useful” visit to Tehran on Sunday.
Reuters 17th Aug 2014 read more »
As thousands of followers of Imran Khan, the star cricketer turned politician, continue to camp out in rain-drenched Islamabad demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s growing turmoil has seen the spotlight turn back in a familiar direction: the role of the army. “The army considers itself under obligation to keep Pakistan together,” says one recently retired general, speaking anonymously. “Any hint of out of control violence in the Muslim world’s only country armed with nuclear weapons will trigger a takeover. I have no doubt about that sequence of events.”
FT 17th Aug 2014 read more »
Lesley Riddoch: Let’s do the world a favour and junk Trident altogether.
Sunday Post 17th Aug 2014 read more »
A SCHEME to “hothouse” young professionals in the multi-billion-pound renewable energy sector will provide newcomers with access to top business leaders and policy makers. Young Professionals in Renewables (YPiR), which is due to launch formally in October, is aimed at developers, academics, accountants, lawyers and financiers working within the green energy industry. It marks a partnership between industry body Scottish Renewables, law firm Pinsent Masons and renewable energy developer BayWa r.e. UK.
Scotsman 18th Aug 2014 read more »